Man Kills His Mother 2 Days After Release From 30-Year Stint in Prison
A New Jersey man has admitted to killing his mother only days after he completed a 30-year prison sentence for killing a neighbor he had said was like a father to him, officials said.
Steven Pratt, 47, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his 64-year-old mother, Gwendolyn Pratt, who was found dead in her Atlantic City home in October 2014, officials said.
She had suffered serious head injuries.
Pratt had been released two days earlier from prison, where he spent three decades behind bars for murdering his next-door neighbor Michael Anderson, authorities said.
The pair had argued in 1984 after Pratt and some friends refused to leave an apartment hallway.
Pratt, who was 15 at the time, tried to attack Anderson with a lead pipe, but ended up with a bloody lip. The teen returned to his neighbor’s apartment with a borrowed handgun and shot the man in the face.
Anderson, who Pratt said acted like a father figure for him, died days later.
Pratt's mother reportedly threw a welcome home party for her son after his release. He was found with his mother's body about 6:30 a.m. on October 12.
An autopsy revealed the woman died from massive blunt-force injuries.
“I don’t want a trial. I’m guilty,” Pratt told the judge at a court appearance after the killing, according to reports.
A video of the appearance recorded by the Press of Atlantic City showed the judge told Pratt: "Now sir, you have a lawyer? Or you may use a public defender."
"I have nobody," Pratt replied.
When the judge asked Pratt if he was aware of the $1 million bail amount, Pratt said: "It doesn't even matter, sir."
"I'm sorry. I have failed," he continued, sobbing.
Gwendolyn Pratt had worked at Resorts Casino Hotel since 1989, her brother told The Associated Press.
Pratt may spend up to 25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.
He must serve 85 percent of his sentence, which amounts to 21 years and three months, before he becomes eligible for parole, officials said.